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Climate change in Colombia

  • Pardo Martínez C
  • Alfonso P. W
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The climate scenarios presented in Colombia's Second National Communication on Climate Change, predict an increase in the average temperature between 2° and 4° C by 2070, along with changed hydrological conditions (for example, certain regions may see their rainfall reduced by up to 30%). Furthermore, the impacts of climate change will affect the quality of life of all Colombians, but will especially affect the means of living of the rural population. In addition, climate change may accelerate internal displacements and migrations. This in turn is likely to create additional stresses on the fight against poverty in the country, which is likely to increase the vulnerability of marginal and excluded populations. Climate change is an important challenge that can seriously affect the development trajectory in Colombia, the fight against poverty and the attainment of the MDGs. It also has the potential to unleash new socio-environmental conflicts or even deepen existing ones. Examples of expected climate change impacts in Colombia Increase in the impact of vector-transmitted diseases (malaria and dengue fever). Andean regions are more prone to see the emergence of these new epidemics since they face unstable malaria infections, in addition to being areas with deteriorated water resources and housing conditions. A good portion of the agro-ecosystems of the country is vulnerable to increased aridity, soil erosion, desertification, and changes in the hydrological system. In addition, there is a greater risk of crop flooding as well as other natural events that affect agricultural production (windstorms, hailstorms, etc.). Runoff levels will rise in coastal regions, in eastern flatlands, and in Departments that had prevalent floods and landslides in the last decade. In contrast, the Andean region and the North of the country will see a decrease of runoff levels, which may cause water distribution problems and a deficit of water in associated dams, which in turn would decrease hydro-energy generation. With the expected rise in sea level, millions of inhabitants are at risk of exposure to flooding in coastal zones, not to mention industrial settlements, tourism-related infrastructure and facilities, and crops. Water sources would also be vulnerable to seawater intrusion.




Pardo Martínez, C. I., & Alfonso P., W. H. (2018). Climate change in Colombia. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 10(4), 632–652.

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